Neuromuscular electrical stimulation for skeletal muscle function

Yale J Biol Med. 2012 Jun;85(2):201-15. Epub 2012 Jun 25.


Lack of neural innervation due to neurological damage renders muscle unable to produce force. Use of electrical stimulation is a medium in which investigators have tried to find a way to restore movement and the ability to perform activities of daily living. Different methods of applying electrical current to modify neuromuscular activity are electrical stimulation (ES), neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and functional electrical stimulation (FES). This review covers the aspects of electrical stimulation used for rehabilitation and functional purposes. Discussed are the various parameters of electrical stimulation, including frequency, pulse width/duration, duty cycle, intensity/amplitude, ramp time, pulse pattern, program duration, program frequency, and muscle group activated, and how they affect fatigue in the stimulated muscle.

Keywords: functional; paralysis; rehabilitation; spinal cord injury; stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / methods